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#457456 - 12/27/13 05:48 AM glad that is over.
traveler Offline

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 4287
Loc: resettling in NE Ohio
It has been 24 hrs since Christmas was over and it has taken me that much time to decompress and figure out why it was so hard this year. I am doing better than ever, generally. I did not have to spend any time with abusers. I did not even call my mom - nor did I feel guilty about it. I was with people I genuinely like and/or love.

So what was the problem? Why did I feel anxious so much of the time? Why was it that in the midst of a nice meal or an innocuous gathering or a pleasant social activity I would suddenly feel sad or remember some painful childhood event or feel distant and disconnected? It wasn't like the usual triggers set off by some sensory detail that was a reminder of an abuse episode.

The key came while watching a movie. A character was at a family holiday meal and was having difficulty maintaining his sense of selfhood. There were so many expectations piled upon him to say and do the "right" things that he could not take it and fled the scene. The phoniness and dishonesty was just too much for him to stand.

For me this year the expectations were pretty minimal and innocuous - show up, interact politely, try to appear pleasant and cheerful and sociable. Yet it was almost too much for me. I was on edge, jittery, and strained by the end of each social event - head buzzing and shaking from the noise and crowd and confusion.

But I figured it out. It was the lack of control that was bothering me - feeling like I was being manipulated and had no influence over what was happening. Feeling like I didn't matter. Feeling like I was disappearing.

I know this is a silly over -reaction. I know I am being hypersensitive. I know I used to be able to play the expected role much better. I hope this is not the new normal for me.


Edited by traveler (12/27/13 05:48 AM)
How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?...
Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails....
Habakkuk 1:2-3

#457460 - 12/27/13 09:49 AM Re: glad that is over. [Re: traveler]
Lancer Offline

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 901
Loc: Florida
"...a silly over-reaction"? imo, Lee, not at all. As though I'm one to talk, it is what it is, a feeling, and doesn't need judgment or minimizing.

Yeah, a lot of us are hypersensitized, especially in potentially triggering situations. I dunno. To me it sounds like a reaction I'd expect of myself in the same situation(s), even if they had no direct connection to the CSA. The setup, if you will, would be similar enough that I'd expect it. For one, aside from the group thing, the so-called obligations to be social, irrespective of who it was with.

And, yes, the hardest part for me would be not to judge it and make myself wrong/bad all over again (lifetime habit). Hell, at least you somehow managed to get out and be social multiple times. Sheesh! That took guts. I think the word "decompress" was a good choice.

#457463 - 12/27/13 01:35 PM Re: glad that is over. [Re: traveler]
newground Offline
Chat Moderator

Registered: 10/11/11
Posts: 1155
Loc: michigan
hey bud
it seems we have to be rid of the old way before we find a way to build a new. I have found it really difficult to establish a new way of thinking while still trapped in the old way. any real effort is crushed almost right away. I think this is just a place between the old and new. you are free now to establish what pattern you wish. you can find healthy boundaries/patterns to cope with holidays as well as any other day. I think you might actually be in a good although uncomfortable place. just know that you are in charge now you can make it better from here. I just hope that it gets better soon.
Be well
Either I will find a way, or I will make one.
Philip Sidney

#457464 - 12/27/13 02:47 PM Re: glad that is over. [Re: traveler]

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 3856

I am glad you made it through Christmas. This year I was not with any of my family but rather with friends.

I too realized in prior years sitting at the table, hearing the taunts, the critical words, the verbal attacks,the laughter at others expense was defining me and raising the past memories of the abuse--but in reality it defines the type of person those inflicting the pain are. In support and therapy I have heard families can have gang mentality--each joining in and ultimately it becomes a way of life. I reflect on how many times I felt the need to leave the table as did others in years prior. No one saw anything wrong and never asked why did they have to leave-instead they were dismissive. Sometimes families get caught up with trying to please someone or think it is "cool" to watch someone become mad and leave the table--a sense of control. Whatever the reason it was wonderful to be free of such treatment this year even though I missed my children. I have made mistakes-yes, did I say things I regret-yes, am I perfect-no. The peace, kindness and laughter seemed to be the victor. So it is the first Christmas in years that I was glad to be at.

I love my children but realized through support and therapy I allowed their in-sensitiveness and words to make me feel worthless but once I accepted it was their issue and not mine I freed myself and my healing progressed. It was a blocking element to my healing and they have no concept how destructive and hindering their acts were to healing. They need to stop holding anger and hate in their hearts, it is only destructive to their well being. Sadly, they have no concept or emotion to CSA and its horrific effects. I know what may or may not have happened as I was unraveling impacted them and I am sorry for what may have happened. This is hard for me because of the fugues and dissociative state I do not know what truly happened. But if you ask the children or by their actions, they seem to know more than the medical and professional experts on trauma and CSA. Unfortunately these attitudes help to keep CSA hidden because of fear of the victim/survivor informing the uninformed. The need to keep the CSA a secret allows it to continue. One child has been through rehab and I am proud she faced the addiction. But she cannot seem to be able to be supportive of someone else who is facing their issue. I hope they find happiness and have fulfilling lives. I also hope they remember those who were there for them without reservation, learn from how they treated others and others treated them and treat others on how they would like to be treated and are givers and not takers in life.

Lee, after your self reflection you know how to prepare and react next year. The healing process is just that, a process. We learn from each step we take. Life is a process and we all learn from the past and we learn from others--hopefully the good outnumbers the bad traits we learn.

Now make 2014 a monumental year in your healing and taking full control of your life. You have been a wonderful supporter and your insights have been instrumental in my own healing journey Thank you.



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